Catching me headed out into rainy weather on my bike a few weeks ago, my openly gay law review faculty manager observed:
"You're so butch."
I thanked him sarcastically in response. Although he was joking, I've actually become accustomed to that perception. As a college freshman, punked out with pink hair, people had thought/hoped I was gay [sorry, ladies]. I've gotten free hot chocolate from Starbucks for my "friend" who was actually my [more obviously gay] sister [we don't look alike enough, apparently]. If I informed my friends at law school that I preferred the girls, I'm not sure that many would be surprised.
Of course, from my sister and her girlfriend's point of view, despite the fact that my thighs are about the size of my sister's nonexistent waist, I'm "so girly." A description which I oddly find insulting. "Girly" seems to imply a weak, fragile, dumbass-in-distress sort of image. And when both my sister and her girlfriend will shriek and run away from bugs while shouting at me to kill it, I'm not sure that description is really accurate.
Caught in the middle, not quite sure where I belong, I try on the dresses in my closet [yes, I own a few], but leave the house in nothing less than Underarmour layered under jeans. And with the sheer amount of sweat exiting my pores on a daily basis, "girly" has no place on the rollers.
Soooooo, I kept this a secret. But then someone else blogged about it, and I felt that maybe this wouldn't make me sound so lame or worse, so "girly." Ready? Here goes: I've been doing Pilates lately.
I know the images that conjures up. The professional late twenties/early thirties career woman with a yoga mat under her arm who has a solid group of girlfriends, makes a fabulous date but hasn't quite found the right man, and gets her nails done on a regular basis. She's considered running a half-marathon but wouldn't go so far as to attempt a triathlon because that would take too much time away from wine bar gossip dates with her future bridesmaids. Think Sex and the City with some physical exercise thrown in. Think everything that does not describe me.
So I've been hesitant to admit that I've been working on my core these past few weeks...from a book. Pilates can cost a pretty penny, and with the rave reviews on Amazon, I figured Brooke Siler's The Pilates Body would be a much cheaper alternative. Guess what? Priced at about $13, it's one of the best investments I've made this fall.
Less than a month ago, I could hardly do the Single Straight Leg Stretch, much less the Roll-Up without lifting my outstretched legs from the mat. But yesterday, I realized that with a little more work, touching my nose to my knees might not be far off. And for what it's worth, I can't even do 1/3 of the whole program yet.
I understand that you don't really need ripped abs to ride or race a bicycle. But since I started subjecting my abs to some daily torture, I've found that it takes more than painful interval sessions on the rollers to get my sciatic nerve to act up. I can carry half my weight in my Ortlieb bag without my spine feeling like it's going to implode. And if that's not enough for you, at the very least, it'll have you standing straight[er] for once.
The chiseled body is still a ways off...but that might be a good thing. Because if I start getting really shredded, it might perpetuate that whole butch thing. And then I might just have to admit that I do that girly thing called Pilates.